Dawson Valley Free Range

Dawson Valley Free Range

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What got us here, won't get us there......

Almost 20 years ago, Kim and I started a journey – a regenerative farming journey. It has been a journey that has seen us change our farming systems, our life style and most importantly gave us the tools to find a way to support ourselves with our farm. One of us always had to work off farm but when we made the move to begin a freerange pig farm, it was with the sole purpose of making the farm support us. We work incredibly hard and by hard I really mean that we just don’t have down time. It’s constant. We love the work but there’s just a little too much at times. 

Recently Chloe and Edmund – our two adult children that love the land as much as we do, have started going through the same process we did back then. It started with a Grazing for Profit School run by Resource Consulting Services. It is a week of light bulb moments! RCS supports you through a change in thinking processes, but more importantly they teach the financial skills necessary to assist in management change. Kim and I have been pretty switched on with the farming changes that we’ve made over the last 20 years but have probably been a little remiss in some of the financial management needed. Along come the young brains and with them wanting to be involved so that they can build a farming life of their own, we’ve had to look very closely at what we are doing.

The four of us have spent most of the last 3 days going over our business and analysing the cost of production, cost of selling and the return on assets managed. We are putting in place steps to monitor this better and to hopefully make improvements in the overall management of the business.

Like most of the east coast of Australia, we are suffering from the current drought. Due to our regenerative farming practices, we have been able to limit the on-farm impacts, however grain for our pig feed is all sourced locally and grain farmers have been greatly affected and not able to plant. Grain prices are at an all-time high due to lack of supply and strong demand. This is having a huge impact on our costs of production.

For us to remain in this business, we have to increase our bottom line. Unfortunately, to gain all the appropriate approvals from Council and Safefood Qld, a certain level of packaging is required which is costly. As I have mentioned previously, we are changing butchers who process our meat. This alone will result in quite a substantial increase in packaging costs, which we will need to pass on. It’s either that or stop going to the markets. Recently I’ve been going to markets three weeks of every month and a fourth delivery every second month. This is costly – both in travel and time. Time is one of life’s most valuable commodities. I lose 3 days every weekend we go to a market. I love the markets, I love meeting with our community, I love being able to provide a high quality, ethically farmed and tasty meat product. We want to keep doing this for a long time, however we may need to keep evolving our business in order to stay in business.

We have reviewed all our pricing and changes are able to be viewed on the web, at this link.  

We really value the support of all our customers and the community that we’ve built throughout our journey. We are going to continue to work out a way to provide you with quality meat produced with minimal impact on the environment.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supports.  You are why we are still here and we are grateful for that.

Thank you

1 comment:

  1. Lucy your title of this post really intrigued me, and now I can see that it's perfect. You and your family must be rewarded fairly for the products you produce and I'm pretty sure your valued customers will stay with you.